Many VA Benefits aren't.

Read why and what you

should do about

Permanent & Total (P & T)

You should consider an IME or an IMO
We've An Independent Medical Examination or an Independent Medical Opinion

will often make the difference when the details of your claim aren't clear.
The physician who conducts such an exam is a neutral observer and an expert in disability medicine.
Click here to learn more about these exams.

Veterans Administration Disability Benefits

How To Increase An Existing Rating

Proceed With Caution

Any time we ask VA to open our file to make any adjustment, we open ourselves

up to a complete review of all ratings.  Many veterans get an unpleasant surprise

when they discover that their request for an increase leads to a proposal to decrease a rating.

You have an absolute right to be rated appropriately for each disabling

condition you may have incurred during your honorable military service.

If you feel that your rating is not correct for your condition, by all means seek an increase.

Before you sure that you can't lose.

Check your current condition's symptoms against the standards you

find in The Schedule For Rating Disabilities. Match your physical or

mental health status to the ones you find there.

If you are confident that you can prove your entitlement to a higher rating, go for it.

If not, sometimes sleeping dogs are best left to just lie there.

Speak With A

Veterans Law Attorney

An Expert Physician

or a


Clinical Psychologist


Case Evaluations Are

Always Free!


America's Leading Resource For
Military Veterans News & Benefits Information 

Over Ten Years of Service to America's Military Veterans

Since 2005 This Is The Site VA Reads When They

Want To Learn What They've Been Doing

Welcome Aboard!

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities

Match Your Disability To The Ones You'll

Find In The Schedule To Determine Your Rating

Contact VAWatchdog

Email Jim Strickland


Fax us toll free


​Find Jim on Facebook

Things You'll Need

Mail your forms, documents
and evidence here...
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235

Toll Free Fax: 844-822-5246

We recommend that you mail a copy
and then fax a copy!  Yes, it's twice the
work but maybe VA will only lose one
and the other will be processed.
Remember: Use Certified Mail!

Forms to File Claims

VA Form 21-526EZ
Disability Service Connection
Secondary Service Connection

IncreasedDisability Compensation

Temporary Total Disability Rating
 Individual Unemployability
Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151
 Special Monthly Compensation
Specially Adapted Housing

Special Home Adaptation

Automobile Allowance/Adaptive Equipment
Benefits Based on a Veteran's
Seriously Disabled Child

VA Form 21-0958 - NOD
​Notice of Disagreement

VA Form 21-534 EZ

Application for DIC, Death Pension
Change of Address​

TDIU Annual - VA Form 4140
Declaration of Status
of Dependents
VA form 21-686c

How To

How To Apply For SSDI

How To Apply For

TDIU Unemployability

How To Use

Disability Benefits Questionnaires


How To Apply For A Disability Rating

How To Apply For An Increase

to an existing rating

How To Retrieve Your

Military Personnel Records

Research Your Claim

The M21-1MR

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities


VA Benefits for Sleep Apnea

as a service

connection to PTSD
Brett Valette, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

The Veterans Voice


Opinion   Editorial

News & Views

(Under Construction)

Do It Yourself

You Do NOT Need A Representative

Determine exactly what your current ratings are before you proceed.

Dig out those original award letters so that you know exactly what sort

of benefits and ratings you have. Don't just guess at it, get the facts. You may need

to check your records at the eBenefits site.

Look at the ratings table for your existing benefit.

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities

is your guide to what you may be eligible for.

You may learn that your current rating is already at the maximum or that you're

current rating is seriously deficient. You have to research it to know.

Gather your evidence and records to support the increase.

​If there are civilian medical records, you have to gather those for yourself.

Do not rely on VA to obtain your civilian records.

Consider having an IMO completed.

The IMO is the most efficient way to provide evidence in support of your claim.

It's time to file the claim.

​Use VA Form 21-526EZ 

Be as precise as you can to describe just what it is that you want.

Provide supporting evidence.

Congratulations! You're done.

Do you have a temporary 100% TDIU rating?

Do you need it raised to 100% Permanent and Total so that you may collect

the CHAMPVA and Chapter 35 DEA benefits?

I asked a senior RVSR (Ratings Veterans Service Representative-a rater)

to comment on this topic.  Many VAWatchdog visitors are writing in to ask why they aren't

P & T and why they don't have the 100% P & T benefits? Most of those disabled

veterans have a mental health problem as their highest rating.

Most are under the age of 55 years old.

I asked the rater why he doesn't offer a 100% rating...TDIU or Schedular...rather

than a rating where future exams are scheduled.

His reply is here...

Hi Jim, 

TDIU  P&T is a problematic issue, particularly with mental health issues. It  places

RVSR’s between a rock and a hard place at times. It is much easier to determine

the long term outcome for someone with physical disabilities.

It is not that we do not want to give a Veteran what he is entitled to but there is always

the underlying concern that we are encouraging dependence on the VA

and not providing the Veteran any motivation to become a productive member

of the workforce.  A major problem with Veterans from the most recent conflict is that

many went in so young that they had no work skills in the first place. Now they are out

of the military and the question becomes whether or not the Veteran truly cannot work

nor has the potential if he or she learned some skills.

Also, we both know the job market is not that great. The general rule of thought (nothing

on paper) is that the 20-40 year old group has the potential for re-entry into the workforce.

There are  occasions where it is clear that the Veteran’s mental health issues

will never get better and P&T can be granted at the time of the initial  rating

decision but that it rare.  Under 38 CFR 3.327, we cannot conduct a

review examination for anyone over 55 unless the
circumstances are extraordinary or mandated,as with the regulation that requires

review of a Veteran’s status 6 months after the completion of cancer treatment. 

It is the age 40-55 group that is toughest to address. A couple of years ago

VBA mandated that no review examination could be conducted before

5 years unless there is special circumstance or a regulation.

If, after 5 years, the Veteran has improved, we still have to wait another

18, 24 or 36 months to get a second review before determining that improvement

is sustained. That means that if a Veteran shows even a little improvement,

he has to wait for a total of about 7 years before a final
P&T decision is made.Another reason for delaying a P&T evaluation is that there

is a time limit to chapter 35 benefits and so you want to grant that benefit

at the time it will be of the most use to the Veteran.

Under Chapter 35, dependents are allowed 45 months of full-time benefits. 

Spouses have 10 years from the date of the veteran's effective date of  permanent

and total disability rating or the veteran's death.  Dependents' benefits end on their

26th birthday or eight years from the veteran's effective date of permanent or total

disability rating or the veteran's death, but not after the dependent's 31st birthday. 

If the kids are 2 & 3, those Chapter 35 benefits won’t be of much use  until many

years later. Unfortunately that delays the ChampVA benefit  also. If the  Veteran

with small children has a physician who will clearly state that  his/her potential

for seeking and maintaining gainful employment is slim to none and the

ChampVA benefits are what is most important to him/her, a claim for

P&T can be made before the 5 year period is up.

If the Chapter 35 benefits are most important, it is in the Veteran’s best interest to

wait it out until his/her children are of age to use the benefit and then

file the P&T claim with the medical evidence. 

If the Veteran does not have a strong statement from his physician or  psychologist

that gainful employment is not possible, it is best for the Veteran to leave

the issue alone as there is the risk of a reduction. 

I hope this explanation helps.

Chapter 35 Dependents Educational Assistance  

CHAMPVA Policy Manual